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Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice)


The European Space Agency (ESA) is all set to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or Juice, mission from its spaceport in French Guiana on an Ariane 5 launcher.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice)
  2. Mission Objectives

About Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice)

  • Juice has been constructed by an industrial consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space based on the parameters provided by the ESA.
  • The mission is planned to reach Jupiter in 2031.
  • Only two other spacecraft have ever examined Jupiter: the Galileo probe, which orbited the gas giant between 1995 and 2003, and Juno, which has been circling the planet since 2016.
  • Another spacecraft, NASA’s Europa Clipper, is scheduled to be launched in October this year and would already be orbiting Jupiter when Juice reaches the planet. Europa Clipper aims to study the Europa moon.
Mission Objectives
  • The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission aims to carry out a detailed exploration of Jupiter and its icy moons, which potentially have habitable environments.
  • The mission will use remote sensing, geophysical, and in situ instruments to make detailed observations of the gas giant and its three large ocean-bearing moons: Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.
  • The main focus of the mission will be on Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System, which is the only one to generate its own magnetic field.
  • The mission will create detailed maps of the moons’ surfaces and enable scientists, for the first time, to look beneath them and probe their water bodies.
Scientific Goals
  • The mission aims to provide insight into how such a planetary system and its constituents are formed and evolved over time.
  • It will help scientists understand the origin, history, and evolution of Jupiter and its moons.
  • The mission will reveal how possibly habitable environments can arise in Jupiter-like systems around other stars.
  • Juice will analyze the chemistry, structure, dynamics, weather, and climate of Jupiter and its ever-changing atmosphere.

Juice’s Capability to Detect Life on Jupiter’s Moons

Possible existence of life on Jupiter’s moons

  • Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa have immense amounts of water
  • Possibility of life in the form of microbes or advanced species

Juice’s capability to detect life

  • Not equipped to detect life on Jupiter’s moons
  • Capable of finding places inside the icy moons where necessary conditions to sustain life are present
  • Juice can examine the presence of water, biological essential elements, energy, and stability for life

Challenges in detecting life on Jupiter’s moons

  • Life may exist deep underneath the ice crusts, which is hard to access

Source: Indian Express

April 2024